41Po189NjvLIn the last fifteen years or so, I started cranking out short stories, thanks to a wonderful writer and friend, John Dixon. I have mentioned this before in blogs perhaps, but he is the one, at NECon in RI, who inspired me to go back and rekindle with my first love, short stories.

Since then I’ve written dozens. Maybe a hundred, maybe more. I don’t track the ones I write, only the ones that have seen print. A few years ago I put out The Collection. These were my favorite dark and creepy stories. Most were very dark, some were lighter. But even the light ones had ghosts.

In the last couple of years though, my writing has moved toward more human darkness, and exposes people as they are in their struggles in triumphs. I didn’t write these for a genre, I wrote them because they were characters in my head screaming for their stories to be told. They are cautionary tales that warn against things like greed, intolerance, cruelty. Most of them are reprints but some were brand-new, written for this collection.

Just Stories, aptly titled, also includes a handful of Drabble stories, which are tales exactly a hundred words long, not including title. I felt these tidbit stories would break up the longer ones.

I hope you enjoy this new collection of stories, published by Shadowridge Press! If you do, please leave a review on Amazon or wherever you can.

Thanks for reading!

Tracy

Please visit my Amazon page to see all my fiction stories and books in one spot.

 

 

 

 

thZSAGOAMLThe thing about being a writer who also has a full-time job, is that there’s not much time left for blog posts. Sadly there’s also little time for marketing or advertising or schmoozing.

I’ve lived in CA for almost two and half years. Since then my day job workload has really picked up, and we bought the house we were renting. Buying a house isn’t an excuse for not writing but renovating it is. And we’ve done a lot of renovating. But even with that, I have been writing fiction. Just not blog posts.

thCA4H4Y303I finished The Rainbox, a novel, February of 2016. I sent it to several agents. Some I got rejections from, and on some their sites explained that they’re too busy to reply unless they want to see more. I  understand this attitude but they should also understand that writers are ultrasensitive people who read into everything. I had one hold out agent who said they DO reply so when she didn’t after four months I dropped her a line. She apologized and said at that particular time she had a problem with the submissions page and could I resend the first 50 pages? I was miffed but resent. Three months later I got a form rejection. I think it’s fair to say I’m burnt out on the big agents and big publishers.

Most, if not all, of my contacts are in the horror genre. The new book, and most of what I write these days isn’t horror, so I’m relegated to cold calling agencies I find online. I haven’t been doing that  because back to my old point, I have limited time and can’t spend it writing dozens of queries and then waiting upwards of nine months before I try someone else.

I have decided it’s time to proposition Shadowridge Press, my favorite small press who is growing by leaps and bounds and adding many authors I greatly admire. More on that in another post.14517610_1199533770103643_5076798070215318949_n

In July, Cemetery Riots came out. This is an anthology I edited with T.C. Bennett. This is a fantastic collection of stories by talented authors. It features my story, “Lunch at Mom’s” which was accepted before I came on board.

Last month I finished a new screenplay called Pretty When She Cries which to me is a cross of Precious, Babel, and Requiem for a Dream. A dark story about people with darkness, and how their actions spiral out of control.

I’ve written several new short stories this year. One was bought by a pro market, only to have the market suddenly fold right before it was to be published. Another was sent many, many months ago to what seems to be a great market. But it’s all still in limbo and the editor isn’t giving updates. I have included both of those stories in my new collection, Just Stories. This will be out by the Vintage Paperback show in March 2017 in Glendale and features many new stories.

Big markets and big agents and big publishers have worn me out. If you can land them, great! But for the rest of us the important thing is to keep writing and not let anyone tell you that if you haven’t published with X you’re not a writer. Someone told me a few months ago that if you don’t write every day you’re not a writer. I argued that sometimes real life prevents that and being a writer-to me at least-is an inborn gift, or curse. And I certainly make up for my output when I do write. He smugly stuck to his point. I agree to disagree.

I am still writing fiction all time even if I don’t post about it.  And even if I don’t write every day. I’m still a writer.

Go Patriots!

 

cr promo posterMy first Halloween Read in the 10 day countdown has to of course be Cemetery Riots.

Where else can you get brand-new fiction  by some masters in the genre all in one stop by Chet Williamson, Ray Garton, Dennis Etchison, Peter Atkins, Lisa Morton, James Door, William F. Nolan-just to name a few? In this new collection by Awol from Elysium Press.

Subtle horror, intense thrillers, and some heartwarming and heartbreaking ghost stories. Perfect for cool October evenings, or even hot Santa Ana nights.

 

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cr promo poster25After months of working with authors to select and edit stories, and tweak contracts, and get the book and cover laid out, and publishing it, we’re done!

Here is the link for Amazon for the print and Kindle versions.

Co-editing was a fun experience at times, grueling and frustrating at others. In the end though, we put out an impressive collection of dark cautionary tales.

If you want a pdf or mobi version to review on Amazon, Goodreads or anywhere else you can think of, please send me a message and I’ll get one to you.

From Amazon:

Imagine yourself in a cemetery. Void of all light at the base of a tree. But it’s no ordinary tree. This tree abounds with the dead. Now envision that each tree limb is a short story with its own vision, its own length of words, and its own insanity.With that said, beware of the widow makers and the strange foreboding dwelling beneath. Remember, nothing’s heavenly in Cemetery Riots. Cemetery Riots is a new collection of dark cautionary tales edited by T. C. Bennett and Tracy L. Carbone. With great pride we introduce you to our stories and their authors… THE WAITING DEAD by Ray Garton, ABUSED by Richard Christian Matheson, CHILDREN’S HOUR by Hal Bodner, CARMICHAEL MOTEL by Kathryn E. McGee, THAT STILL, BLEEDING OBJECT OF DESIRE by Chet Williamson, LUNCH AT MOM’S by Tracy L. Carbone, FATHER AND SON by Jack Ketchum, THE DEMON OF SPITALFIELDS by Karen and Roxanne E. Dent, ERASURE by Lisa Morton, THE WINDOWS by T. C. Bennett, CERTAIN SIGHTS OF AN AFFLICATED WOMAN by Eric J. Guignard, THE MAN WHO KNEW WHAT TIME IT WAS by Dennis Etchison, THE RE-POSSESSED by James Dorr, CLOWN ON BLACK VELVET by Michael Sebastian, THE CELLAR by Kelly Kurtzhals, ETERNAL VALLEY by John Palisano, BLOOD by Taylor Grant, AMONG THE TIGERS by William F. Nolan, ALL OUR HEARTS ARE GHOSTS by Peter Atkins, THE ITCH by Michael D. Nye, and DRIVING HER HOME by John Everson.

Our first signing is set up for September 18th at 2pm at Dark Delicacies in Burbank. Link to their place HERE. Many of the authors will be present to sign and chat about their writing so we hope to see you there.

-Tracy

 

 

 

thZSAGOAMLI’ve been writing since I was little. It’s the only thing I ever found that I could do all day everyday and still think it was fun. Or at least rewarding.

For years, I’ve been writing like crazy. To date I have five published novels, a collection of short stories, a second collection probably coming out in the fall. I’ve sold lots of standalone stories too.

For my recent  novel-it’s been sometime since I’ve looked for an agent-I’m a little overwhelmed. Back in the day, a person could write a book and sell it. The publisher and /or you would spread the word through friends, or press releases (does anyone even use those anymore)? And then go work on the next book. Sure there were book signings to attend and conferences but that wasn’t the requirement. If you wrote a good enough book and it got into the right hands, and you kept writing good books, that was enough. You may not be rich or number one on the sales charts but it wasn’t about that. It was about the writing, the craft of it. The tap tap tap of the keys and the euphoria and sadness you felt at typing, THE END.th0DTLRKC1

It’s a different world now though. Now it’s about Amazon rankings which can be skewed in several ways to your favor so you can say, “Look I’m number ONE !” even if just for a few hours, and in some remote category (Amish Cookbooks that Feature Deviled Eggs). I’ve been guilty of this myself so I’m not judging. But when did it become about ranking and popularity and how much can you earn in a month if you run a contest or a giveaway?

thSVC34CLQI saw the website for a big NYC literary agency today that stated when I submit my query I also had to provide links to all my social media, talk about how many followers I had and my web traffic. How many copies of books have I sold?

What happened to sending in your book and being judged on the merit of the writing and the concept? The dream of pulling a J.K. Rowling and having your book fall into the right hands and suddenly have everyone talk about what a good storyteller you are? Is that so far down the list of priorities now to publish? I think so, yes.

thUJ37D5A7.jpgNow the writing doesn’t matter nearly as much as Facebook algorithms and Twitter followers and Tweets and Retweets, and podcasts and blog posts. It’s a business. Facebook and Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat. It’s a start. There’s Goodreads and a whole bunch of others that I don’t know about because I JUST WANT TO WRITE.

When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to grow up to  be a writer. I didn’t want to grow up and do marketing for a living. I work all day at bank job and when I get home, I want to immerse myself in fiction. Not more accounting stuff and schmoozing and looking at spreadsheets and learning the best methods to sell more Kindle books than last month by doing a Countdown or paying Bookbub to let me give away more free copies because eventually it will pan out…

thZVQUA00LBut it seems without doing all these other things, you are destined to fall into obscurity. I truly respect the people who do write well and also market like crazy and make a lot of money. I just wish that we could go back to just writing what we love, and being good at it, and letting good prose do the work.

On that note, I will go write because that is my favorite part. If I am never number one, or a household name I want to believe it’s because I didn’t write the Great American Novel, not because I didn’t Tweet enough. I hold out hope that someday we will go back to writers  writing, just for the sake of writing because that’s what we were born to do.

-Tracy

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TCBennett_CemeteryRiots_TitleOnlyI’ve been working hard with T.C. Bennett and we finally have all our stories collected, chosen, and edited. They’ve been sent off to our Layout person and we are eagerly awaiting the pdf of the finished work so we can review it yet again and send it to our authors before it goes to print. We’re on track for our June deadline. Note, the names below do not represent the story order. We read and reread them all to order them to give the collection the best possible flow. Congratulations to all the contributors. It’s going to be a wonderful collection of dark cautionary tales.

  • James S. Dorr-The Repossessed
  • William F. Nolan-Among the Tigers
  • Kelly Kurtzhals-The Cellar
  • Tracy L. Carbone-Lunch at Mom’s
  • John Palisano-Eternal Valley
  • Hal Bodner-Children’s Hour
  • Eric J. Guignard-Certain Sights of an Afflicted Woman
  • Ray Garton-The Waiting Dead
  • Chet Williamson-That Still, Bleeding Object of Desire
  • Michael Sebastian-Clown on Black Velvet
  • Michael D. Nye-The Itch
  • Taylor Grant-Blood
  • Kathryn McGee-Carmichael Motel
  • R.C. Matheson-Abused
  • Jack Ketchum-Father and Son
  • Lisa Morton-Erasure
  • Karen Dent-The Demon of Spitalfields
  • Roxanne Dent-The Demon of Spitalfields
  • T.C. Bennett-The Windows
  • Dennis Etchison-Title TBD
  • John Everson-Driving Her Home
  • Peter Atkins

 

Half%20CowAt the Burbank Writers Coffeehouse this afternoon, Peter Clines was discussing the differences between suspense, mystery, and a twist ending.

I’ll touch on those in another blog someday, but wanted to relay a story to illustrate the importance of a payoff after pages and pages of mystery or suspense. Sometimes novels can be 120,000 words long. Carefully crafted words of character development and clues and red herrings, and more clues and a story arch, and finally the big reveal. THE PAYOFF. If you put your readers through that much reading, you’d better have a worthwhile payoff.

Many years ago, my ex and I traveled with our respective children from the northeastern corner of Massachusetts to Poughkeepsie, NY, on Thanksgiving Wednesday, in the snow. It was destined to be a long ride as it was, and we were prepared in the way readers are when they heave a giant mystery novel onto their lap and settle in for the night.

The ride though ended up being very long. Somewhere into it, not sure how far along, the traffic stopped. Utterly stopped. Had this been summer, or Los Angeles, we could have gotten out of the car and played Frisbee or at least rolled our windows down and relaxed. But it was cold, we were all tired, and after too long of sitting we got restless. Helicopters roared above, and ambulances and police cars whizzed past, but they were so far ahead we couldn’t see a thing. We passed the time as best we could, playing words games or singing. Finally, two hours later, the traffic moved.

Idiom-Edgeofseat-Movie.jpgWhat was it the holdup? The first thing I saw, an image I will never forget, was a half a cow. Split right down the middle,  lying on its side, dead of course. I never saw the other half. The 18 Wheeler was turned around the wrong way and twisted like a broken elbow. “Wow, a half a cow! That was worth the wait!” I said, or words to that effect. We all agreed heartily. Because, who ever gets to see THAT?

How does this rule apply to writing mysteries or thrillers or any genre that contains a big reveal?

If you’re going to write a book, and tease your readers, and drag out the big reveal, and keep them on edge with so much intensity they give up television or dinner to get to the end, you DAMN WELL BETTER HAVE A HALF A COW, to show them. Or something equally as worthy to trade for their money and time invested in your story, and in you.

An example of a bad reveal: two hours of traffic in the car and you see a guy with a flat tire. Or in a book–well you’re writers, you can make the connection.

That’s all I’ve got for now but it deemed worth sharing. Blake Snyder has Save the Cat. I’ve got Half a Cow.

Don’t cheat your readers. Give them something BIG.

-Tracy L. Carbone

For more of Tracy’s insights on writing visit  HERE, or check out and follow her on  her Amazon page.

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